Spring Pruning

The ground has warmed up enough for the trees to come out of the ground. The weather in the coming weeks are hovering above freezing, so it seems like a good idea to get them out of the ground and start working on some of them.

For the Japanese Maple, I left two sacrifice branches, and ensure all the nodes don’t have more than two branches coming out of them. This ensures that I won’t end up with reverse taper at those nodes.Japanese Maple After Pruning

These two larches also required some pruning, I left the top parts of these two trees intact until I see the buds swelling. I’ve killed more than my fair share of larches over the years, I don’t want this to be one of them.

Larch after Pruning

This literati larch have come a long way since I got it several years ago. I still remember the club president saying at the time that this is difficult to make into anything useful. Well, I’ve tried over the years, and I’m quite happy with the result. Last year I killed off the top, and this spring I stripped it to reveal the shari. I then further carve the deadwood, and also wired the branches in place. I can’t wait to see this tree leave out. I may contemplate repotting the tree to be slightly leaning to the right at around 7 to 10 degrees.

Then there’s the cotoneaster. I don’t really know what to make of this one. It certainly have a thick base, but not much going for it otherwise. I’ve pruned back a lot of the shoots that grew last year, let’s see what this tree brings this year.



There are a few small trees which IĀ over-potted in hopes of them growing more vigorously. But a small tree in a big colander often left the medium too wet, and as a result, the tree suffers. Today, I repotted two trees into a smaller colander. My hope is that the reduced amount of soil would allow the medium to dry more quickly, and as a result, promote the tree to put out more roots.

I first started with the Japanese Maple. I originally potted the tree very low in the colander, forcing the roots to go radially rather than downwards. This plan worked well, as the tree has a very radial and flat nebari. I simply trimmed some roots off the rim, painstakingly rearranged the roots so that there are no overlaps, and then potted it into a smaller colander.

The second tree is the Boxwood. Boxwood are very slow growing trees, especially so when grown inside a pot. For the past two years, the tree remains largely the same size. Some nice roots have developed. Similar to the Japanese Maple above, I arranged the roots nicely, before potting it into its new (much smaller) colander.

Summer End Update

Summer is coming to an end, and the trees are starting to grow again. Here’s an update on what I’ve done to the trees to prepare for some autumn growth.

First up, is the Shimpaku (or Blauii). Looking at the foliage of this tree, I’m now more convinced that it’s a Blauii. The foliage on this tree has a bluish tinge to it. Regardless of whether it’s Shimpaku or Blauii, it’s developing some good ramification. This summer, I’ve wired a few of the smaller branches, to make the shapes more defined. Rather than having big pads of single layer foliage, I’ve also layered each individual pad to make it look like a cloud of foliage. I’ll not be working on this tree for the coming season. I’ll just be pinching out new growths to ensure it retains its shape.

Juniper After Refinement

Next up is the tree I collected during my first year of bonsai. It was a small seedling when I collected it from the side of a jogging path. It’s now grown to be a small little dual trunk. This summer I styled it for the first time. Last year I defoliated this tree very late in the season, and it didn’t leave back. This year, I defoliated it earlier, and it leaved back nicely. Next spring I’ll be moving it into a nicer pot.

Maple After Initial Styling

Here’s the honeysuckle. When I repotted it this spring, all it had was one small root. I was surprised that it survived. Seeing that all the other trees responded well to pruning by putting out new growths, I figured I would prune this one too. But sadly it didn’t put out any more new growth. I won’t mess with it any more this year, I’ll give it some time to recover, and hopefully it’ll be healthier next year, so that I can work on it a bit more.

Honeysuckle After Pruning

This is the Hackberry I got from Derk’s backyard (for free) social last year. Earlier, I wanted to start an air layer with the top portion of the tree, but it never took, and ended up killing everything from the air layer upwards. I end up cutting off all the deadwood, then started working with what I have below. Perhaps due to the lost of the foliage, the tree responded by putting out a lot of new growths. The tree is looking a bit overgrown now, I’m wiring the new growths downwards, to make shaping them easier in the future.

Hackberry with Top Removed

The last one is the Japanese Quince. This year I’m trying to develop the ramification, and branching of the tree. I’m looking to develop this one as a clump style. Wiring down those small twiggy branches with such close proximity to other branches has proven to be challenging. I’m letting the centre branch grow out to thicken the middle tree. For some reason, the middle trunk is substantially weaker than the rest of the plant…

Japanese Quince Pruned and Styled

Defoliating the Maple

I’ve noticed the buds on the Maple are swelling very much, but shy of popping new leaves, so I decided to defoliate it to push out those new buds. Since the tree is very vigorous, I think it should be able to tolerate the abuse. The tree looks very full before defoliation.

Maple before defoliation

I proceeded to cut off all the leaves, while leaving behind the leave stalks.

Maple after defoliation

After defoliating, I’ve noticed there were some branches which had two sets of internodes, so I reduced them further, in hopes of creating a more compact tree (once the buds pop).

Maple after pruning

Update on Berry and Maple

These two trees were looking very bare early spring when I repotted them. I’m happy that they’ve now fully leaved out, and looks more lively than ever before. I pinched out some top growth from the maple, in order to send more energy towards the bottom portion of the tree.



The berry on the other hand already has a very thick trunk, and just needed some more proportionate branches, so I just let its branches grow wild. Hopefully the branches will thicken up.



Repotting the Maple (?!)

Don’t know whether this is a maple to begin with. I originally collected the little seedling from a trail south of where I live. The twin trunk looked interesting to me at that time, so I scooped it up while taking a jog. It’s been five years, and now it is somewhat root bound. So much so that it’s pushing the soil up the rim of the pot. I decided to repot it into a normal plastic pot to further develop its trunk. I trimmed down the tree extensively, hoping to develop some taper. On the left trunk, I left a sacrifice branch which comes out from the back.